- in Into The World , Life Purpose , Mindset
5 steps to stop negative thinking and feel happy again
Because you’re on this page, you have already taken the first, and most important, step to stop negative thinking.
That is, you have become aware of your negative thoughts and decided to stop believing them.
This is the moment when true change begins. Most people spend their entire lives believing the limiting mind stories of doubt and fear, never stopping to question them or consider that another way of life exists.
With awareness comes the opportunity to create a positive mindset that will allow you to get from where you are to where you want to be.
Learning how to stop negative thinking is a journey that will transform your life by empowering you to live in a way that reflects your highest hopes and dreams rather than darkest fears.
When negative thinking consumes your life, it controls you.
You essentially give your power away to these thoughts because you feel fearful and powerless.
Negative thinking is an opportunity to heal more deeply and reclaim your power.
Learning to stop negative thinking is a skill, a muscle that grows over time.
You’ve spent your entire life listening to these lies in your head. It takes time to reprogram your mind, stop negative thinking and free yourself from these damaging influences.
I say this to encourage you to be patient with the process and to know that you will have setbacks, it will require you to be strong, and you will at times feel like you haven’t made any progress.
But keep going, and it will become easier.
Negative thinking will always arise to some extent — we are human, after all.
So while the goal is of course to reduce the number and intensity of negative thoughts you experience, a secondary goal is to shift how you respond to negative thinking.
The more you can question these thoughts rather than believe them, the less they influence you.
And the less they influence you, the less they create unhappiness or stop you from pursuing your dreams and goals.
What is the source of negative thinking?
One source of negative thinking is unhealed emotional pain.
Surface level thoughts often come from deeper belief systems. For example, the thought, “I am not good enough,” will create thoughts like, “I fail every time I try something new,” or, “I can’t make money doing work I love.”
These deeper belief systems linger from unhealed past pains, often from childhood. Without healing the emotional root of the belief creating the thought, it’s very difficult to change the thought by simply repeating a more positive one.
Repeating affirmations without doing deeper emotional healing work is like Febreezing a kitchen with food rotting in the fridge.
Once you release these deeper pains, it creates space for you to reprogram your mind more easily. You’ll know you’re ready to shift mentally when you can believe the more positive thought, when it feels good in your body.
Action step: Check out this resource on shadow work to release inner blocks to thinking more positively.
A second source of negative thinking is a specific way of living.
Are you connecting to your soul and to the universe every day? Are you meditating, journaling, eating healthy, exercising and practicing gratitude? Are you creating things, following your curiosity and pursuing your purpose?
Or are you spending your time on social media, watching television, passively consuming things, eating lots of fat or sugar, not exercising, and not doing the inner work that leads to self-discovery?
We all, at various times in our lives, get out of balance, but I can say that when I consume more than create, get lazy with my spiritual practice, and stop growing personally and professionally, I get really super sad and depressed.
Our thoughts and emotions have a cyclical relationship — how you feel affects how you think and how you think affects how you feel — but one powerful way to stop negative thinking and feel happier is to change the contents of your day or environment.
Think about a tree. The difference between a tree that thrives for 100 years and becomes a grand old Oak and a tree that struggles for a few years before dying is the conditions in which it grows.
We have to make sure to nourish our inner soil through yes sunshine and plenty of water, but also feeding our souls, our minds, our hearts and our bodies.
So I will teach you really powerful techniques to stop negative thinking, but if changing your thoughts feels like a struggle, if you feel heavy under their weight, then take a moment and ask — how can you nourish yourself more deeply?
Connecting to your spirit makes you less vulnerable to negative thinking because you’re closer to your true self, and further away from fear.
Action step: Take inventory of your day and think about one new activity you could add in to uplift your energy and raise your vibration. When will you do it and why is it important?
Share the activity that uplifts you the most in the comments below.
A third source of negative thinking is fear and powerlessness.
The biological function of fear is to keep us safe. With negative thinking, our ego is ultimately trying to keep us safe and in our comfort zones.
Negative thoughts allow us to blame others and the world for our misfortune often because we fear we’re inadequate or incapable of creating what we desire.
We feel powerless to create change.
It often feels safer to feel sorry for ourselves rather than stop negative thinking, take responsibility for our lives and step into the fear, and risk getting hurt.
Realizing the only real fear is believing these negative thoughts and allowing them to imprison you in a small life will hopefully inspire you to do the work to transcend limiting thought patterns for once and for all.
In a moment, I’ll share a powerful tip for transforming this fear and stagnation into progress and momentum.
And with that, let’s get into specific techniques… (be sure to read all the way to the end. The bonus question is everything.)
The 5-step process to stop negative thinking and feel happy again
1. Become aware.
Just like awareness led you to this article, it’s essential to continue becoming aware of the thoughts you’re thinking, and also how you’re feeling.
This is an ongoing process because as you up level your mindset, you’ll notice beliefs you once believed WITHOUT QUESTION and now realize — wow. That thought does not reflect my truth.
A regular meditation practice is the most powerful way to develop awareness of how you think and feel.
Meditation is the most important practice to heal emotional pain and stop negative thinking.
Action step: Begin meditating at least 5 minutes each day. (Check out The Magic of Meditation to learn how.)
2. Write down your negative thoughts, doubts and fears.
The most powerful way to slice through negative thoughts is to get clear on exactly what it is you’re dealing with by journaling them out. Simply write down everything you’re thinking, all the self-talk swirling in your mind, with the assumption that IT’S NOT TRUE.
When doubts and fears are swimming in your head, they feed off each other.
It’s like a weed that spawns other weeds and soon the entire garden is out of control. To clear the soil, remove one weed at a time. As you remove one weed, often entire clumps of nearby weeds will come out at the same time.
Stopping negative thoughts is the exact same thing.
Action step: Write the negative thoughts down. Get them on paper. Define them. This allows you to move through them.
3. Ask: What meaning am I attaching to this?
Most circumstances are neutral, it’s the meaning we assign to it that drives our response.
Humans love to find meaning in things; it’s part of what inspires us to move forward. But we also attach negative meanings to things. Identifying the meanings you perceive can help you navigate life more consciously.
Along with every negative thought is a meaning fraught with pain. Some deep fear, story or belief that you’re not worthy, can’t realize your dreams, or that life is more difficult for you than it is for others.
It can help to identify the deeper story so you understand why you’re having a hard time moving past the belief.
Recently I was struggling with doubts and fears related to my ability to achieve goals, which I realized after asking what meaning I was attaching to certain negative thoughts I had.
Realizing this old pattern no longer serves me was a powerful way to create positive momentum in my life. It allowed me to identify the exact growth opportunities I needed to feel better about my life’s direction. I’ll share more in a moment.
Action step: Tune into your heart and ask what deeper fear is driving the negative thoughts.
4. Feel any pain associated with the fear.
Underneath painful thoughts are painful emotions. Emotions are nothing to be afraid of. All they want is your attention. The more you tune into your heart and dissolve pain simply by being with it, the more you connect to your true self.
Viewed this way, negative thoughts are opportunities to heal more deeply.
When I was navigating my recent struggles with confidence and feeling good enough, I spent extra time meditating each day. Spiritual practice is medicine for the soul. When you’re having a hard time, raise your dose!
Of course it’s not good to wallow in emotions, but wallowing has a sense of self-pity and stagnation. Mostly people tend to avoid or repress their emotions.
Feeling your feelings, shifting your mind — it’s all part of the evolution process.
The way to fully release emotions and find deep peace in your heart is to sit with your emotions until the energy moves through you and dissolves on its own.
Trust that it will. Your emotional body is designed to digest emotions just as the stomach digests food. All you need to do is stop interfering with the process by judging yourself for feeling pain.
You are worthy no matter how you feel. I teach a powerful meditation technique that’s especially designed to help you release negative emotions. Download it below.
Action step: Meditate with the Feeling Awareness meditation.
5. Remember who the eff you are. (Aka connect to the deeper truth of your higher self.)
Your higher self has all the answers you need. Your higher self wants you to know that you are a good person who deserves amazing things.
Your higher self wants you to know that it’s safe to shine, safe to be confident, and safe to trust in life and the universe.
You are good enough. You are worthy. You can do it.
What does your higher self have to say about this specific negative thought or fear? How can you see this differently?
Tune in and ask your higher self for a more empowering thought to replace the negative thought.
To replace my thoughts of doubt and insecurity, I reminded myself that I CAN do this. I can do anything I desire. I AM good enough. And so are you.
Make sure you actually believe it so it sticks. Affirmations you don’t believe can actually make you feel worse.
I always talk with my clients and members of The Starlets about about transitional affirmations.
These are affirmations like, “I am learning how to be more confident.” Or, “I believe I have the potential to realize my dreams.”
Transitional affirmations create space for you to be learning how to do something or believe that you have the ability to do it, even if you don’t yet have evidence.
Tune in and connect to an uplifting thought that feels really good in your body.
Next, every time you notice the negative thought returning, become aware and shift into the new, more positive thought.
As you honor your emotions and reprogram your mind, the negative thought won’t have as much power over you. It’ll become easier to shift, and then eventually, your strong, positive mindset will be the most natural thing in the world.
Action step: Connect to one beautiful positive thought or affirmation that uplifts you. Repeat it to yourself or journal on it until you feel really good. When you want to stop negative thinking, affirm the positive thought or repeat this entire process when needed.
Bonus — In what ways do you feel powerless, and what action would help you reclaim your power?
After realizing that I CAN achieve my goals, I had to get honest with myself and recognize that my skills in certain areas were lacking. The negativity was coming from a sense of powerlessness that was actually a personal development opportunity!
This epiphany to stop negative thinking was 100% because of the process outlined here.
I got clear on what I wanted to learn, prayed and asked the universe for guidance.
Of course, as soon as my mind returned from negative la la land, I realized the Law of Attraction planner I recently purchased (it’s SO good!!) AND a course I bought but haven’t yet finished both hold powerful guidance on the exact thing I’m feeling uncertain about.
(By the way, that’s an affiliate link and if you purchase the planner I receive a small commission at no cost to you.)
We are always supported. All we have to do is get out of our negative headspace, ask to be guided, and then take the steps once they appear.
The key to permanently stop negative thinking is to develop ourselves personally and spiritually so that we outgrow the patterns that once constrained us.
If you’re always dealing with the exact same negative thoughts, you’re simply not growing.
As we tap more deeply into our own power and become self-actualized, we become literally unstoppable.
We all deserve to live our dreams, 100%, but we need to become the person for whom that life is inevitable.
It’s all up to you.
Did this article resonate with you? If it did, please share it with a friend!
Now it’s your turn — What’s one skill you can learn that will help transcend negative thought patterns, feel more confident and think more positively?
I can’t wait to hear!
All the love,